Friday, June 18, 2010

Designing Innovation for TVS

The TVS Corporate Design Innovation Workshop (10/06/2010)

Our last workshop as a part of this leg of SPREAD was the TVS corporate design innovation workshop held on the 10th of June, 2010, solely for the employees of TVS motors. This workshop was slightly different from the rest as it was specially tailored for TVS. We had around 25 participants from various departments and branches of TVS. There were people from the brand innovation team, sales team, engineering team and even the advertising and PR team, all from the Scooty division.

Here’s a little introduction to TVS motors. TVS Motor Company is the third largest two-wheeler manufacturer in India and one among the top ten in the world. TVS was founded by T. V. Sundaram Iyengar in 1911. It is the only automotive manufacturer in India to get the prestigious Deming Prize. This prize is given to organizations that have achieved distinctive performance improvement through the application of TQM in a designated year. TVS Motor Company has its origin in Sundaram Clayton Limited, Moped Division, started in 1980. The factory was started in Hosur, Tamil Nadu in southern India. The first product launched was a 50 cc moped, which appealed to the masses because of its capability to carry two people. In the same location, the same promoters started another company in 1984, in collaboration with Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan, for the manufacture of 100 cc motorcycles under the brand name of Ind-Suzuki Motorcycles. Subsequently in the moped division was bought by Ind Suzuki Motorcycles in 1987 and the company changed its name to TVS Suzuki Ltd. Even though the company started producing all kinds of two wheelers like mopeds, scooters and motorcycles, the collaboration with Suzuki continued for the motorcycles only. The collaboration with Suzuki Motor Corporation ended in 2001 and since then the name of the company changed to TVS Motor Company. The company now develops all types of two-wheelers through its own in house R&D facility and manufactures in three locations in India, Hosur in Tamil Nadu, Mysore in Karnataka and Baddi in Himachal Pradesh. It has recently started a new manufacturing plant in Indonesia to cater to the South-east Asian market. TVS also gave us the Scooty (launched in 1998) which was a scooterette aimed at women. It is now the 2nd largest selling scooter in India today.

Carlos started the day off at 10:00 am with a welcome note and had the participants introducing themselves. After, that we had a presentation by Mr. Srinivas which dealt with understanding a multidisciplinary approach and problem setting. He took us through a presentation of TVS (more specifically the evolution of Scooty through the years). Following this was a case study on mobility and transportation in the Dominican Republic by Carlos. There were other case studies on successful companies (like Samsung, Nokia, DesignTaxi and Smart) and their practices. The session also included an introduction to the design argument framework and rapid prototyping. All through the session. Jayesh and Kiran from Idiom made caricatures of everyone sitting in the room (shown above).

We also had a practicum session, where the group was split into teams of 4 and 5. Their aim was to come up with a transportation solution for today’s Indian woman. They were given the option to choose what type of woman (college girl, house-wife, corporate woman etc.) they would like to target and were given chart paper, photographs, designers (from Idiom) to help them visualize their idea and a host of other material. As usual, this resulted in some fantastic ideas. The teams presented their ideas one by one and there was an open house discussion and critique session following which there was a small presentation on Pixar (w.r.t how they think and work). Our final session, led by Carlos, was a comparision of Design management led approach.

This was our final workshop for the month of June and we were happy with the result. We hope to have more Design innovation workshops for various companies in the near future. Carlos flew back to New York the next day. He said he's be back soon though. For more information on our initiatives, keep watching this space. We will be back shortly.

 Posted by Rahul

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Moulding Tomorrow's Leaders

Young Designers Workshop (09/06/2010)

We held a workshop for teenagers on the 9th of June, 2010. The workshop was led by Carlos and the theme was ‘the power of ideas’. The main area we addressed was mobility in the modern world. We had 25 children, accompanied by 5 teachers/guides (1 from each institution). It was a mixed bunch of students as we had students from the CBSE & ICSE backgrounds, students from international schools as well as students from the SSLC background. These students were 15-20 years old. The schools that participated were:
1.    Mallya Aditi International School
2.    Resurrection High school
3.    Orchard Public School
4.    Stonehill International School
5.    Career Kraft (an organization with students from various institutions)
6.    Delhi Public School (South)

It was a fun day with lots of activity and model-building. The workshop started at 9:30 am with an introductory session and a welcome note from Carlos. We knew that if we had too many lectures or presentations, the kids would get bored easily, so we tried a different approach. We let the kids talk and work with each other. Soon after the introductory session, we paired them up and asked them to interpret each other (we asked them to draw, paste or write whatever could be used to best describe their partner). We provided them with chart paper, sketch pens, crayons, cut-outs from magazines, glue, scissors, post-its and plasticine. We told them to go wild with their imagination and to interpret their partners in whatever way they wanted. Some of the kids drew caricatures, some used plasticine and some wrote down all their partner’s favorite TV shows. In the end, all the interpretations were unique. After this, they were given maps of Bangalore. The task was to map their partner's traveling patterns on a weekly basis (taking into account their mode of transport, the money spent and their destinations).

As soon as the kids were done with these activities, we broke for lunch. We had a McDonald's lunch. There were Burgers, fries, Chicken McNuggets and some other tasty snacks for everyone to munch on. Carlos instructed everyone not to throw away their paper plates and cups, but to collect them and bring them in to the Think Tank (the room in which the workshop was conducted). This was to tell them about recycling and the dangers that the earth is facing due to waste and improper disposal of material. Immediately after that we had a small paper plane competition to see who could make the best paper plane. Darshan from Orchard Public School won. His paper plane was no match for anyone else. The final session was the most fun session of the day. The kids were given raw material like cereal boxes, wood, paint, tape etc. They were split into groups of 4 and 5 and their task was to create an alternative mode of transport (using their imaginations and having no restrictions).

The results were:
1.    The Sardar Express: A teleporter that can teleport people across continents in an instant.
2.    The Flying Bug: It functions as a normal car, but when in traffic, the car’s doors become wings and it flies.
3.    A bus that runs on solar energy during the day and uses water as fuel during the night.
4.    A car that is magnetically levitated.
5.    The Kick-Ass car: It has huge wheels that can navigate potholes, has a GPS system to avoid congested roads and is powered by solar energy and battery power.

All their concepts were amazing. Some of them told us that when they were older, they would make working models of these machines. Before we ended the day, we took them on a tour of Idiom. Most of them were fascinated by the way we work. Some of them joined us in a game of table tennis. They interacted with the employees and learned a little on what each department does. The day ended with Carlos giving the final lecture at around 6 in the evening. We asked some of the kids to tell us what they thought of the workshop, and here’s what they had to say –

“I think today’s workshop was very interesting. The part I liked most was the tour of the working station upstairs. I had a chance to see the working environment in design companies.
I especially enjoyed modeling our awesome ‘Sardar Express’. It gave us a chance to add a little bit of humor to our creative abilities. Had a great time :) thank you.” – Spandhana Sridhar (MAIS).

“Amazing! The workshop was bursting with energy. In two words, it was- creativity unleashed.
Love the office space at Idiom. It would be great to have more workshops like these :). “ – Joshitha Thimmaiah (Christ University/Career Kraft)

“It is a very good initiative. I hope there are more initiatives like this. Absolute fun with learning. This is the best workshop I’ve attended. Please invite us for another one. Thanks a lot, it was a great experience” – Ashwin S. K (DPS-south)

Overall, we were happy with the result of this workshop. Our aim was to SPREAD the message that you don’t only have to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer, there are tons of options out there. In design alone the possibilities are endless. We started the day with a bunch of quiet, shy children (not the environment we encourage at Idiom), but by 5 in the evening the office was like a noisy classroom. This workshop was free of cost. Our aim was to spread Design knowledge and knowledge of Design. This one was a success and we’re sure the next one will be even better.

Posted by Rahul.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Designing tomorrow's leaders - the Design Leadership Workshop

The Design Leadership Workshop

The 1st Design Leadership Workshop was held on the 3rd – 5th of June 2010. I am pleased to report that it was a smashing success. We had a total of 35 participants from companies like the Future group, TVS motors, EWDPL, Quetzel, Redlime (Sri Lanka), Bonnie & Clyde cafĂ©, Oxylane (France), People Combine, TCS, 24/7, Life Spring hospitals, Ganjam, Orchard advertising, Frame of mind, Insight academy, Titan and a few others. It was a three day workshop followed by an after-party and networking session. Initially, we had limited the number of seats to 25, but due to the overwhelming response we received, the limit was extended.

The workshop was primarily aimed at entrepreneurs, marketing people, communication teams, key decision makers, senior management and other key people. This workshop was not aimed at designers; instead we wanted leaders and decision makers to train them how to use design thinking in mentoring their teams in the effort of developing new business opportunities and markets. Dr. Carlos Teixeira led the workshop, making it a fun learning experience for everyone.

Day 1 started at 9:30 am on the 3rd, with the participants meeting each other over breakfast. Carlos started the introductory session shortly after that, with a welcome note and a talk on design competence and leadership. After that, there was a case-study presentation by Idiom. Later on, the participants were divided into groups of 5 and 6. Their task (over the next couple of days as well) was to create an idea and develop it into a feasible business plan. They were given magazine cut-outs, sketch pens, chart paper, post-its and even assigned 2 designers per team to make their process easier and more fun. The ideas and plans that resulted from this were simply brilliant. We had also organized tours of Idiom so that everyone could get a feel of our wonderful campus.

There were 5 modules throughout the workshop.
1. Module 1 was mapping behavior, profile and needs.
2. Module 2 was Speculating ‘what if’ scenarios.
3. Module 3 was Project staffing: the borderless innovation enterprise.
4. Module 4 was Project planning: create, preserve and destroy.
5. Module 5 was Organize to innovate: connect and design.

Various aspects of design and business were covered in these modules across three days. Numerous examples, success stories, case studies, presentations and lectures supplemented these modules.

Through the workshop the participants learned the following:
• Language and strategies for developing and evaluating new business ideas.
• Techniques for understanding users and their needs in order to identify opportunities for business innovation.
• Collaborative techniques for defining the characteristics that make a product, service, brand, and business desirable and successful.
• Key phases, milestones, and decisions involved in designing new businesses
• Building up capacities to simulate and evaluate demands for new products, services, and brands.
• Improving “soft skills” in creativity, imagination and story telling.
• Developing “design habits” to become innovative thinkers.
• Developing abilities to implement a culture of innovation in their organization or teams.

Coming back to the business plans that the teams developed, we watched these plans evolve from mere, fun ideas into viable business options. I sincerely hope that some of the participants will meet again after this and take their plans forward. There were ideas like roti, kapda aur which was a website that helps you set up your life. There was an idea for an airline that offers a whole bunch of services aimed at the first time flyer and many more fun ideas like starting a ‘green youth club’, taking city services (like a beauty parlor, fashion etc) to rural areas and even an organization to help house maids out.

The third day was a bit different. We were joined by the following business leaders for the afternoon session:
1. Mr. Kanwaljit Singh from Helion Ventures
2. Mr. Goindi from TVS motors
3. Mr. Srinivas from TVS motors
4. Mr. Rahul Balachandra from YLG
5. Mr. Rajasekhar from People Combine
6. Mr. Fernando from EXPO industrial group (Sri Lanka)
7. Mr. Nishanka from Redlime (Sri Lanka)
8. Mr. Kush Medhora from EWDPL
9. Mr. Arjun Baljee from Peppermint hotels

They were joined by Jacob Mathew, Sonia Manchanda and Girish Raj from Idiom to lead the panel discussion and critique the various business plans that were presented by the various groups. This session was a pretty energetic one with arguments and suggestions flying all over the room. The panel as well as the participants had interesting takes on the different business plans. Unfortunately, we were pressed for time, so every group was given 15 minutes to present their case and collect feedback. Following this was our open house session. We had a total of 15 speakers (business leaders, participants as well as our very own Idiom-ites) presenting various cases, success stories and information on the organizations they came from. The speaker were given a 7 minute speaking slot each (again due to the constraint of time, although we’d have loved to hear more). There were a range of topics like Pawan from the Future group presenting the Big Bazaar success story, Rahul presenting the YLG success story, Elisa and Guillaume sharing some information on Oxylane, Kush presenting the EWDPL case study etc.

We had a small graduation ceremony for all the participants at the end of the workshop. They were each presented with a certificate and a SPREAD stole. The after-party was a lot of fun as well. The participants along with people from Idiom danced late into the night. It was a great workshop with amazing sessions, delicious food and a killer after-party. We were lucky to have such an eclectic, energetic and diverse bunch of participants.

This isn’t the end of SPREAD. We have a workshop for children on the 9th of June and another one for the employees of TVS motors on the 10th. We hope the next workshop will be as successful as this one was. Watch this space for news on SPREAD and our future initiatives. So, until next time then.

Posted by Rahul

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Introducing SPREAD


IDIOM is humbly today India’s largest multidisciplinary design firm in the country, In the last few years design professionals at IDIOM Design and Consulting, Bangalore have been using design thinking as a key strategic tool to help in the disproportionate growth of some of the most desired business houses in India. At Idiom we believe that this process could be used to create the same results of inclusive growth for the nation and beyond. Idiom has, in a short span of time, moved from the business of design to the design of business. Creating ideas for India that are taken from mind to market with skill, speed and imagination. Idiom is ‘more’ than a design firm. Design education does not address this need that we see in the market.
SPREAD was hence born as the design outreach program of IDIOM. Since its induction three years ago SPREAD has successfully worked with various institutions and business houses conducting workshops, seminar programs and lectures to make design a weapon to transform and grow our economy and to better plan our lives and environment. Spread makes design thinking, tools and processes accessible to design and business students, practitioners and even school children.


As India strives to be the epicenter of the new creative economy. We at SPREAD realize two immediate challenges the nation faces for the desired growth.
India has a severe shortage of Design professionals when compared to countries like the USA or Japan and our education system has been structured to nurture production economy rather than creative economy.
Our aim at SPREAD is to create future thought leaders whose designs would tangibly transform businesses and life. We at SPREAD aim to ignite this thinking process to a wide range of audience from corporate / entrepreneurs / business houses / governance to school children to youth in colleges practicing different streams of specialization Young. We aim to make India’s creative future ready.
What we offer:
Design education (Design thinking and Design doing):
Design as we see it, has two parts to it-process and skill. The process can be easily taught and applied to a wide variety of problem solving exercise. The process or design thinking as it is better known today is a way of seeing , observing , questioning and foreseeing a problem / demand to get a holistic solution.
Spread also plans to impart soft skill courses for the non designers.

Design research and consulting:

The design and ethnography researchers at SPREAD are constantly caning the market and society for viable insights and ideas that could lead to a sustainable growth opportunity.
Journey so far:
In acknowledgement to our work in India, team from Idiom was invited to Parsons and Stanford D School in New York in the month of March this year to better understand the true potential of economic growth in India with design as the key driver. The visit resulted in NODES (A network for design education) was set up as a platform to promote Design and Design thinking, collaboration between SPREAD (Idiom) and Design Knowledge Network (Parsons).

Next step:

NODES (Spread/ Idiom and Design knowledge network / Parsons new school of design, NY) will be jointly conducting the first series of workshops from 3rd to 10th of June 2010. Dr. Carlos Teixeira from Parsons will be leading this workshop.

Moving forward:

Design is not for the elite; it is for all and can be practiced by all for a truly conscious growth. Hence we must SPREAD Design.
We will be targeting education, consulting services and vocational training for schooling and graduate students, non designers, corporate, social entrepreneurs, governance, small and MSES.
We will also be looking to attract like-minded people, passionate about inclusive and conscious growth as partners and research sponsors on the NODES platform.

Key People:

Carlos Teixeira, Ph.D.

Carlos Teixeira is an Assistant Professor and Director of Academic Affairs at the School of Design Strategies, at Parsons The New School for Design. He has a PhD in Design from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA. His teaching centers on the application of design practices for innovation. He also leads a research lab on Design Knowledge Networks. As a practitioner, he has professional experience as a communication designer and strategic design consultant in the United States and Brazil.

Sonia Manchanda
Sonia is Founder and Principal Designer at Idiom Design and Consulting. She believes that design is and can be a potent tool for creating and recreating the world we live in and design is as much relevant to life, as it is to business. She has led teams and worked on large scale projects that are cultural in nature, created public movements, working with city stakeholders, created the thinking, culture and visual identities for some of India's largest and most recognizable retail brands, besides some truly Indian and successful corporate brands. Spread is an initiative that she launched along with Idiom cofounders, to find innovative ways to spread design as a way of thinking and doing things. She is a product of the premium school of design , National institute of Design , Ahmadabad and is in the program committee of EPIC an ethnographic conference to be held at Japan.

Nimesh Pilla

Nimesh Pilla is the Leader Learning at SPREAD Design and a consultant on design strategies to Idiom Design and consulting, Bangalore. He has masters in Design strategies from Politechnico Di Milano , Milan and specializes in design innovation and management linked to new product service systems. He is a visiting faculty to School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi where he had done his graduation as an architect. He has worked as an architect and design strategist in India and Italy.

Posted by Rahul